The title search contains all the records about the property that are held by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). You should be able to obtain a copy of the title search from the selling agent. Otherwise, your lawyer can get one for you, or you can do your own search through LINZ. Ask your lawyer to check the property’s title before you sign anything. Find out more about title searches at LINZ.govt.nz.
The LIM is a comprehensive report provided by the local council containing all the important current and historical information relating to the property, such as erosion risks, rates and District Plan considerations. Either you or your lawyer can request a LIM from the council or the salesperson may provide a copy. Note that a LIM may not hold every piece of relevant information. Ask your lawyer if it is also necessary to request access to the council’s property file or ask the salesperson if they have the property file. Find your local council at localcouncils.govt.nz.
It’s a good idea to select a qualified property inspector early on in your home buying process. You should choose one with professional indemnity insurance who carries out their work in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standards. They will be able to tell you if there are problems with the condition the property. You may also need an engineer’s inspection. Find a property inspector at buildingsurveyors.co.nz or boinz.org.nz, or find an engineer at ipenz.nz
If you are applying for a mortgage, your lender may ask for a registered valuation to confirm how much the property is worth. The valuer will visit the house and perform an assessment. Find a registered property valuer at property.org.nz.
In every instance, it's a good idea to research the property to determine the price that you're prepared to pay and make sure that you get your lawyer to check anything that you sign.
An advertised price sale is where a property is marketed at an advertised price with no time limit. If you wish to make an offer, the real estate agent will get you to complete a sale and purchase agreement, or you can ask your lawyer to draw up an offer, which will be presented to the seller by the real estate agent. Normally your offer will be conditional – which means it is subject to conditions like your satisfaction with any building inspections or your ability to obtain a mortgage. Once you have negotiated all the terms and the price with the seller, reached an agreement and paid an agreed deposit, you are under contract. When all the conditions are met, your contract is declared unconditional by your solicitor. When settlement date arrives, you pay in full for the property and receive the keys.
When a property is sold by tender, it is not marketed with a price (although a minimum guideline price may be advertised). Buyers make confidential offers to the selling agent by a set date, and then the seller has a maximum of five days to decide which offer, if any, to accept. Sometimes a property may be advertised as “for sale by tender (unless sold prior)”, which means that it can be sold before the tender date.
If you make an offer on a tender, you will often need to pay a deposit at the same time, which is refunded if your tender is unsuccessful. Once the seller chooses an offer, the remainder of the process is the same as an advertised price sale.
This is an alternative to advertising with a Price. By negotiation is a method of inviting buyers to make an offer without the seller disclosing what they will accept. This method also includes conditional offers.
An auction is an open process where buyers bid against one another to purchase a property. When buying at an auction, you are bidding unconditionally so you must have all your finance and research arranged beforehand. The seller will set a reserve price, and if bidding exceeds the reserve price during the auction, the property will be sold immediately to the highest bidder. If bidding fails to meet the reserve, the highest bidder may be invited to negotiate with the seller after the auction. Sometimes the seller may accept a pre-auction offer if the terms of the auction allow it.
It also contains clauses that outline the buyer’s and seller’s obligations and outlines what kind of penalties will apply if either party defaults on the agreement terms (e.g., delaying settlement).
You cannot change your mind once you have signed the agreement and all conditions have been met – you are legally committed to the purchase. Before you are asked to sign, the selling agent should give you a copy of the Real Estate Authority (REA) guide (which can be found here).
Make sure that the agent you’re working with is licensed so that if anything goes wrong, you can call on the support of the REA. They publish a list of all licensed agents at rea.govt.nz, which contains details of any complaints upheld against an agent.
Remember to ask the selling agent any questions you want to know about the property. They are required by their Code of Professional Conduct and Client Care to deal fairly and honestly with all parties and are not allowed to withhold any information that might affect the sale. Any statements they make to you must be able to be backed up with evidence. They must also notify you in writing if they have any conflicts of interest.
Now that you know how the process works, check out our latest listings to find your next home.
If you are thinking of selling, renovating or refinancing, getting an estimate of your property’s current market value is a great place to start and will assist you in determining your equity position. Our experienced agents will give you an obligation-free assessment and answer any question you have, all at no cost to you.learn more